Iowa is a leader in business retention and expansion programming. Thanks to the unified structure of Iowa’s economic development professionals, utilities, community colleges, state business leaders, and many others working together, Iowa is a great place to do business. With the implementation of the Synchronist statewide initiative and the BEST collaboration, the State of Iowa has reached new heights. While Iowa leads the nation with its business retention program, it’s now time to take it to the next level.
This will be a year of strategy and implementation transition to enhance the initiative. Improved data collection will provide a more vibrant picture of the issues and challenges facing Iowa companies.
The BEST management team is now collaborating with the Institute for Decision Making (IDM) to analyze the aggregated data regarding the state’s economy to identify the programs and initiatives needed to grow and strengthen our existing industries. Following are action items and steps to elevate the program.
- A list of targeted companies has been developed that must be part of the data to have a true picture of the health of Iowa’s economy. The list is comprised of companies within the Battelle Study clusters, utilities’ industrial and large customer segment, IEDA’s targets and companies from previous years’ interviews.
- The company interviews must be completed on this list. The utilities are available to work with local partners and identify resources to ensure the calls and interviews are completed. The local economic development partner will always be included in this process.
- The intent is to move the customer call cycle to a calendar year. In order to start this transition, this year’s calls must be completed between April and July. If calls have been made prior to April and not included in the 2015 data, this data will be included in 2016.
- This new data will be used as the baseline moving forward.
- As discussed many times, it is not enough just to make the calls and collect the data if nothing is done with it. To support the data analysis, the utilities and IDM will assist in pulling results and using the data as needed by local partners and regional marketing groups.
- IDM will be providing the annual report that can be used by everyone.
So what are your next steps as the local economic development partners?
The following action items are needed to keep the momentum moving in the right direction.
- The companies on the targeted list have been identified. Calls must be completed by July 1.
- Schedule the interviews as quickly as possible. If you cannot gain access to a company, your utility partners will make the contact and assist with completing the interview.
- Work to ensure the information from the completed calls gets accurately and correctly entered into the database.
The BEST Management Team is looking forward to working with you through this transition year. We will continue to improve and enhance our Business Retention & Expansion program to keep Iowa leading the nation.
Your feedback and thoughts are always welcome and wanted. Together we will gain more accurate data and results allowing for better decisions and the ability to respond and bring value to our existing businesses at the level they expect.
BEST Management Team